Friday, June 25, 2010
Cathay Pacific has officially announced that it will be placing a large order for wide bodied jets this year (most likely at the Farnborough Air Show) to replace its fleet of Boeing 747-400s, Airbus A 340-300s and Boeing 777-200As / -300As as the carrier looks to streamline its fleet and cater for expected growth in traffic during the later part of the current decade. Thus far it has indicated that it will not order the Airbus A 380 and instead it shall be initially focusing its attention on both the A 350, B 773ER and B 787 family line to meet its expectations.
Interesting announcement by CX which indicates that they are writing off the A 380 for now but who knows as this could be a bargaining tactic used by them to get Airbus to sweeten the deal if they do order a dozen or so A 380s! For CX's wide bodied fleet replacement, they should implement the following changes:
1. B 773As to be replaced by B 773ERs and used on regional routes in a 2 class configuration in the same manner that EK uses these aircraft on short/medium haul sectors. The B 773As need to be gradually replaced from 2013 onwards and in order to have fleet commonality, costs controlled etc, the B 773ER is the best replacement as its flexibility too would in the future allow longer range flights to new or existing markets.
2. A 343s, B 772As and A 333s to be replaced by A 359s due to the latter's similar pax carrying capability + greater nonstop flying range ability.
3. B 744s to be replaced by A 380s and not B 773ERs because the current CX B 744 fleet seats 380 pax approximately where as their B 773ERs seat only 301. Now a typical 3 class A 380 in CX's configuration would likely seat 500 pax which means 120 pax more than their B 744s i.e. nearly 30% more. One would instead suggest that the A 380s of CX be used exclusively as a 4 class aircraft with a new premium economy cabin added into the on board product so that the total 4 class capacity becomes 450 pax max which means 70 more than the B 744 i.e. approx 18% more which is manageable from a sales stand point. In addition, traffic volume on potential CX A 380 routes should increase by approx 20% over the next 5 years so this is all manageable. If CX orders A 380s at this summer's Farnborough Air Show, they would probably get the A 380s delivered from 2014 onwards.
The A 380s of CX should be used on:
HKG-CDG...in this way like how SQ reduced ZRH frequencies, CX can fly a daily A 380 to CDG rather than 10 weekly B 744s.
HKG-SIN (regional route as part of a continued same plane service from a long haul flight)
HKG-NRT (regional route as part of a continued same plane service from a long haul flight)
HKG-TPE (regional route as part of a continued same plane service from a long haul flight)